Close encounters

Moving further down south along the coast from Los Angeles, one may find a huge urban area driving on the 101 southbound. That is, until one reaches another San, which is San Diego.
This town with 1.3 million inhabitants is also the home of Sea World San Diego, which is the original Sea World.
Here they feature shows with dolphins, sea otters, humans, California sea lions, and most importantly, killer whales!

It is for these guys that we went there, and like a whole lot other people we went to see Shamu(R). Yes, that name is indeed a trademark! The show features three or four of these killer whales, and after an tragic event at Sea World Orlando the shows are kept ‘dry’ which means the trainers will not go into the water with the animals during the show.
Nevertheless, it was great, and really American.

The show starts with a tribute to all active and veteran servicemen and -women of both the US Army and their allies. The audience gives a resounding ovation and the show is off! It features jumping, twisting, sliding and especially a whole lot of splashing whales.
Oh yes, the Americans sure do like their splashing whales! The first 16 (!) rows are the so called ‘Soak Zone’ and viewers with cameras are strongly advised to go sit somewhere else if they want to keep their equipment in a working state until after the show. Let’s say the tail of a killer whale can cause quite some drenched people! And they all love it. Called the Shamu(R) Slam, the soaking lasts for a solid 10 minutes where all visitors are being blasted in various ways while doing a special move to encourage the animals to get as much water out of the basin and into the seating area.
As a certain big Galician would put it: strange folks, those Americans.

Returning to the drop off point for our car, we started ti realize that there is only the final leg of our vacation left; the ling trip back home. Tomorrow, we have to up around 4 am to catch the first plane to Washington, and then on to Amsterdam, where my brother will pick us up…

So long America! You have been a true blast!

Travelling and such

Coming to you live from the US, it’s me!

After a grueling 8 + 5 hour flight, with a very tight 1.5 hour transfer where we were met only by angry looking US customs men on Washington Dulles Airport and a huge buzz on LAX.
It’s safe to say Los Angeles is a huge city, and that it has two major problems: smog and traffic. Both of which we have been in contact with…

Right after our arrival on LAX we took the transfer bus to our rental company, where we were to pick up our car. The guy at the teller made us a good offer by upgrading us about 2 classes from a medium to an intermediate size, but added a little extra as a bonus because we were from Holland. 🙂
I’m keeping the make and model a secret, but we upgraded from a 1.6 liter engine to a 3.5 liter version. Nice!

The trip from LA to where we are now was a meager 2 hour drive which took us about 3 hours because of the bad traffic in and around Los Angeles. When you think the traffic in Holland is bad, come see for yourself in LA!

Right now, we’re in Palm Springs, in the wonderful Renaissance Hotel, enjoying our drinks and thinking about the trip for tomorrow. It’s going to be a long day, filled with driving and sightseeing, but that’s what we came here for!